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European Commission Spokesman's Briefing for 04-12-22

Midday Express: News from the EU Commission Spokesman's Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: EUROPA, the European Commission Server at <http://europa.eu.int>


CONTENTS / CONTENU

[I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

  • [01] La Commission poursuit l'application de la procédure concernant les déficits excessifs l'égard de la Grèce
  • [02] Commission proceeds with excessive deficit procedure for Hungary
  • [03] Czech Republic, Cyprus, Malta, Poland and Slovakia on track to correct budget deficits
  • [04] La Commission définit une stratégie pour améliorer la qualité des statistiques budgétaires
  • [05] Internal Market : Commission acts to ensure eight Member States implement EU laws
  • [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

  • [06] Un rapport d'experts appelle l'UE renforcer son action contre la traite des êtres humains
  • [07] Commission reaction to the order of the President of the Court of First Instance on Microsoft case
  • [08] Commission clears acquisition of HMG by Sovion in abattoir and meat products sector
  • [09] Commission clears acquisition of Isuzu Benelux by Alcadis, Isuzu Motors and Mitsubishi
  • [10] Commission clears joint acquisition of Isuzu Spain by BA, Isuzu and Mitsubishi
  • [11] Commission clears acquisition of TDF by Charterhouse
  • [12] Commission strengthens "Energy Star" label for more energy efficient computer monitors
  • [13] October 2004 compared to September 2004 : industrial new orders up by 0.2% in euro-zone ; EU25 up by 0.7%
  • [14] Télécommunications : la Commission demande au Luxembourg de se conformer un arrêt de la Cour
  • [15] Boosting business between EU and Canada
  • [16] EU and Serbia conclude textiles agreement
  • [17] Autre matériel diffusé Midday Express of 2004-12-22 Reference: MEX/04/1222 Date: 22/12/2004 EXME04 / 22.12

    MIDDAY EXPRESS

    News from the Press and Communication Directorate General's midday briefing

    Nouvelles du rendez-vous de midi de la Direction Général Presse etb

    Communication

    22/12/04


  • [I] Résultats de la Commission de ce jour - Outcome of today's Commission meeting

    [01] La Commission poursuit l'application de la procédure concernant les déficits excessifs l'égard de la Grèce

    La Commission européenne a conclu que la situation budgétaire de la Grèce s'était encore dégradée en 2004, bien que ce pays jouisse de la croissance économique la plus forte de la zone euro et contrairement aux recommandations adressées par le Conseil en juillet dernier. La Grèce s'attend ce que son déficit atteigne 5,3% du PIB en 2004 au lieu des 3, 0% prévus dans sa notification du mois de mars. Le projet de budget pour 2005 prend comme objectif un déficit des administrations publiques de 2,8%, mais les mesures présentées paraissent insuffisantes pour ramener le déficit nominal en dessous du seuil de 3% d'ici 2005, comme recommandé par le Conseil. Se fondant sur cette évaluation, la Commission recommande au Conseil de décider qu'aucune action suivie d'effets n'a été menée pour corriger le déficit excessif.

    [02] Commission proceeds with excessive deficit procedure for Hungary

    Based on the assessment of its budgetary situation, the European Commission has recommended to the Council to decide that the action taken by Hungary to correct its excessive budget deficit was ineffective. While some consolidation was achieved, the deficit targets of 4.6% of GDP for 2004 and 4.1% of GDP for 2005 are likely to be missed by 0.9 percentage point. Further measures appear necessary to ensure that the objective set by the government and recommended by the Council of bringing the deficit below 3% of GDP in 2008 is safely achieved.

    [03] Czech Republic, Cyprus, Malta, Poland and Slovakia on track to correct budget deficits

    The European Commission has concluded that the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Malta, Poland and Slovakia are on track for correcting the situation of excessive deficit they were found to be in, in July this year, and hence in line with the Council recommendations. Therefore, no further recommendations are required at this stage.

    [04] La Commission définit une stratégie pour améliorer la qualité des statistiques budgétaires

    La Commission européenne a adopté une Communication au Conseil et au Parlement qui définit une stratégie pour améliorer la gouvernance du système européen de statistiques budgétaires. La stratégie prévoit un projet de règlement permettant la Commission d'accomplir une vérification approfondie des chiffres, le renforcement de l'institut européen de statistiques Eurostat ainsi que l'adoption de normes élevées visant garantir l'indépendance des instituts nationaux. Le projet de règlement devrait être adopté au début de l'année et l'adoption des normes d'ici juin 2005, comme recommandé par le Conseil.

    [05] Internal Market : Commission acts to ensure eight Member States implement EU laws

    The European Commission has decided to pursue a total of fourteen infringement cases involving eight Member States in order to ensure that they live up to the commitments they have made to implement single market laws, agreed by the European Parliament and the Council, on financial services, accounting and the recognition of professional qualifications. The Commission is to refer Greece, France and Luxembourg to the European Court of Justice because they have not notified the Commission of national measures implementing the 2002 Collateral Directive or the 2001 "fair value" Directive on accounting rules. The Commission will also send "reasoned opinions" formally requesting the Netherlands to implement the Collateral Directive and asking Germany and the UK (for Gibraltar) to write into national law the Fair Value Directive. Reasoned opinions are the second stage of formal infringement proceedings under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. If those three Member States do not give a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer them, too, to the Court. The Commission will refer Belgium, Germany, Greece, France and Austria to the Court over the incomplete implementation at national level of the 2001 Directive on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications

    [II] Other news - Autres nouvelles

    [06] Un rapport d'experts appelle l'UE renforcer son action contre la traite des êtres humains

    Aujourd'hui, le groupe d'experts de la Commission européenne sur la traite des êtres humains a présenté M. Franco Frattini, vice président de la Commission et commissaire chargé de la justice, de la liberté et de la sécurité, un rapport indiquant des moyens de renforcer l'action de l'UE contre une forme de criminalité horrible dont les premières victimes sont les groupes vulnérables, tels que les enfants et les femmes, qui sont vendus comme des marchandises et subissent des violences physiques et sexuelles, ainsi que les migrants qui sont la merci d'organisations criminelles. Sur la base des recommandations figurant dans le rapport et d'autres données, la Commission publiera en 2005 une communication élaborant un plan de l'UE en faveur de normes communes, de meilleures pratiques et de mécanismes de prévention et de lutte contre la traite des êtres humains.

    [07] Commission reaction to the order of the President of the Court of First Instance on Microsoft case

    The European Commission welcomes today's order of the President of the Court of First Instance (CFI) because it means that the Commission's March 2004 Decision (see IP/04/382) becomes effective immediately. Implementation of the Commission's March Decision will not only benefit consumers of computer products in terms of choice of media players on computers and choice of work group servers, but also stimulate innovation. Today's order is important because it preserves the effectiveness of antitrust enforcement, in particular in fast-moving markets as in this case. The order confirms, as the Commission claimed, that this type of case does not fulfil the criteria for a decision to be suspended.

    [08] Commission clears acquisition of HMG by Sovion in abattoir and meat products sector

    The European Commission has approved the acquisition of Hendrix Meat Group (HMG) by Sovion under the EU merger control Regulation. Both companies are based in The Netherlands and are active in slaughtering of pigs and meat sales. The new company will be the largest player in The Netherlands and one of the largest in Northern Europe, but the Commission has concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the various markets where the parties are active.

    [09] Commission clears acquisition of Isuzu Benelux by Alcadis, Isuzu Motors and Mitsubishi

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of newly created joint venture Isuzu Benelux by Alcadis (Belgium), Isuzu Motors Ltd (Japan) and Mitsubishi (Japan). Isuzu Benelux JV will operate on the markets for the wholesale distribution of new cars and spare parts. Alcadis is the holding company for the car companies of the Alcopa group, active in the import and distribution of cars. Isuzu is a worldwide car manufacturer. Mitsubishi is a general worldwide trading company with a number of motor vehicle distributors throughout Europe. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [10] Commission clears joint acquisition of Isuzu Spain by BA, Isuzu and Mitsubishi

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of joint control of Isuzu Spain by Spanish company BA, Isuzu Motors of Japan and Mitsubishi also of Japan. BA is the holding company of a group of companies (the Bergé group) active in the wholesale and retail distribution of a range of different motor vehicle brands. Isuzu is a worldwide car manufacturing company. Mitsubishi has several motor vehicle distributors throughout Europe. Isuzu Spain operates in the wholesale distribution of new cars and spare parts. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [11] Commission clears acquisition of TDF by Charterhouse

    The European Commission has granted clearance under the EU Merger Regulation to the acquisition of sole control of Télédiffusion de France (TDF) by Charterhouse UK. Charterhouse is the parent company of a group which provides equity capital and fund management services. TDF provides over-the-air and wireless services to broadcasters and telecom operators and owns and operates terrestrial infrastructure used for the transmission of TV, radio and telecom signals. TDF is currently jointly controlled by Charterhouse and by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC). Cogecom, a subsidiary of France Telecom, which holds 35.98% of the shares in TDF, intends to sell its entire stake to Charterhouse and CDC (and CDC related co-investors). The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.

    [12] Commission strengthens "Energy Star" label for more energy efficient computer monitors

    The European Commission adopted today stricter criteria for computer monitors to be granted the "Energy Star" label. Office equipment takes a steadily increasing share of energy consumption, not only in the office but also at home. Thanks to the Energy Star labelling programme, consumers can make savings on their electricity bill while purchasing often better quality equipment. The overall impact for EU countries is more efficient use of energy and therefore reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases and greater security of energy supply. Commissioner Andris Piebalgs responsible for energy issues highlighted that, by adopting those new criteria, the Commission takes a win-win measure that will contribute to controlling energy demand, to combating climate change while helping consumers that will buy Energy Star monitors to make savings. Launched in 2001(Regulation (EC) No.2422/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on a Community energy efficiency labelling programme for office equipment, Official Journal L 332 of 15.12.2001), the "Energy Star" labelling program is a voluntary scheme for the industry, unlike the labelling scheme for domestic appliances which is compulsory. These labelling initiatives follow on the 1990s SAVE Programme dedicated to promoting public awareness for energy efficiency and encouraging energy- saving behaviour in the industrial, commercial and domestic sectors. The Commission manages the Energy Star labelling programme together with the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA. The new criteria for computer monitors will enter into force on the 1st January 2005. They cover both the energy consumption of the computer monitors when in working, but also in stand-by.

    [13] October 2004 compared to September 2004 : industrial new orders up by 0.2% in euro-zone ; EU25 up by 0.7%

    The euro-zone industrial new orders index rose by 0.2% in October 2004 compared with the previous month, Eurostat estimates today. The index grew by 1.7% in September after a fall of 0.8% in August. EU25 new orders grew by 0.7% in October 2004, after a rise of 0.8% in September and a fall of 0.8% in August. In October 2004 compared to October 2003, industrial new orders increased by 0.6% in the euro-zone and by 0.2% in the EU25.

    [14] Télécommunications : la Commission demande au Luxembourg de se conformer un arrêt de la Cour

    La Commission européenne a demandé formellement au Luxembourg de se conformer un arrêt de la Cour de Justice du 12 juin 2003 lui enjoignant d'appliquer correctement une directive de 1990 relative la concurrence dans les marchés des services de télécommunication (90/388/CEE). En violation de cette directive, le Luxembourg maintient, malgré des modifications de sa législations, une procédure de délivrance de droits de passage qui pénalise les concurrents de l'opérateur historique, car ils ne sont toujours pas en mesure d'obtenir les autorisations nécessaires pour construire leur propre infrastructure le long des routes et des voies ferrées. La demande formelle est sous forme d'un avis motivé, la deuxième étape de la procédure d'infraction prévue par l'Article 228 du Traité CE. Si le Luxembourg persévère dans son manquement, la Commission pourrait saisir la Cour et lui demander d'imposer une astreinte quotidienne.

    [15] Boosting business between EU and Canada

    On 21 December, the Canadian government and the European Commission have taken an important step to facilitate trade between the EU and Canada by developing a framework for regulatory cooperation. This voluntary framework is designed to promote a more systematic dialogue between EU and Canadian regulators during the early stages of the development of regulatory proposals for all goods. This will help eliminate regulatory barriers caused by, for example, different labelling requirements. The new working basis will not only facilitate trade and minimize trade frictions, but also result in better regulation.

    [16] EU and Serbia conclude textiles agreement

    On 21 December, the EU and Serbia have initialled a bilateral agreement on trade in textiles. Under this agreement the EU will lift all textile quotas applied to Serbia. In return, Serbia will dismantle tariffs applied to EU textile imports. In addition, both parties will refrain from applying any non-tariff barriers to each other's textile and clothing exports. European Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said : "This agreement is a tangible example of the increasing closeness of the EU's relations with Serbia through the Stabilisation and Association Process. It shows how both our economies can benefit from deeper cooperation."

    [17] Autre matériel diffusé

    Trafficking in human beings

    Note on outcome of Agriculture/Fisheries Council of December 2004

    Questions and answers – order of the President of the Court of First Instance in case T-201/04 R, Microsoft Corp. vs European Commission (22.12.04)

    Speech by Joe Borg : "TAC and Quotas for 2005" at Fisheries Council

    Speech by Franco Frattini : "Data protection in the area of Justice, Freedom and Security" at meeting with the Joint Supervisory Authorities under the Third Pillar (21/12) From EUROPA, the European Commission Server at http://europa.eu.int/


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